The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Wisconsin For 2022


We used data and science to determine which places in Wisconsin go easy on your wallet.

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Most people think that Wisconsin cities are filled with a bunch of Laverne and Shirley look-alikes, Green Bay Packer snobs, and happy cows on happy farms.

While all this might be true for most Wisconsin cities, the trick is to find all of this goodness in the most affordable Wisconsin cities. And while learning the value of the dollar is important, you don’t want to stress about it daily when looking for a safe, affordable Wisconsin neighborhood, a job that pays the bills and then some, or the best deal on a case of Milwaukee’s Best.

Wisconsin residents are smart. They know a good deal when they see one. More importantly, they know that they can save money with every Wisconsin season.

In the fall and winter, residents head to their cabins to hunt and ice fish to offset their grocery budget. And when Wisconsin’s winter turns white, some people plow snow, shovel snow, and/or blow snow for a little extra cash. So, you don’t have to look any further if you choose The Badger State to call home. But you do have to check out our list below to find out the most affordable cities in Wisconsin for 2022.

We recommend that you grab yourself a brat, some cheese curds, find a sunny spot on Lake Michigan, and read on.

The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In Wisconsin

  1. Rothschild
  2. Merrill
  3. Manitowoc
  4. Two Rivers
  5. Kimberly
  6. Waupun
  7. Shawano
  8. Kronenwetter
  9. Kaukauna
  10. Milton

If you ask any Cheese Head, they will say, hands down, that their city is the best. Heck, there’s a reason The Badger State is the 20th most populous in the country.

And, yes, we think it has a little something to do with the great people, strong jobs in manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare. But, to the economically savvy, to truly be the best, the state must have the nicest, most affordable places to call home.

What’s the cheapest place in the Badger State? According to the most recent data, the cheapest place in Wisconsin is Rothschild.

So, if you care about home values, cost of living, and gold star quality of life, take a look at the list below to see where your Wisconsin dollar will let you live like a Milwaukee Buck on a dairy farmer’s salary.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Wisconsin and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Wisconsin For 2022

Whether you’re ready to commit to a mortgage or just dipping your toes with a year’s lease, Rothschild has some seriously affordable housing options. Part of the reason Rothschild ranks so well in affordability is that the median income in Rothschild is $75,283, meaning folks can pay slightly more for housing than the preceding cities on this list without going bust. With a median rent of $813 and a median home price of $143,400,

Rothschild is comfortably in the top 20 statewide for both home price and rent to income ratios. Not to mention that it’s always 84 degrees at Logger’s Landing Waterpark, so you’ll be able to cheat winter better in Rothschild than anywhere else.

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 5,286
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 92.6x (33rd cheapest)
More On Rothschild: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Rothschild, WI

If you want to live in the cheapest place in America’s Dairyland, look no further than Merrill. Merrill is known as the “City of Parks, so you’ll never be left wondering how to entertain yourself free of charge. Merrill boasts the third cheapest homes in the state, and the absolute lowest you’ll see on this list, with a median price of $86,100. Even more important, though, is that Merrill’s median income is $47,031, meaning there’s nowhere in Wisconsin where you’ll spend less of your salary on your home.

Merrill is located in north-central Wisconsin.

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 9,081
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 74.8x (100th cheapest)
More On Merrill: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Merrill, WI

Manitowoc is a city in and the county seat of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, United States. The city is located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Manitowoc River. According to the 2010 census, Manitowoc had a population of 33,736, with over 50,000 residents in the surrounding communities. The city’s sister city is Kamogawa, Japan.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 32,558
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 9)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (12th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 76.7x (78th cheapest)
More On Manitowoc: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Manitowoc, WI

Life in Two Rivers has a lot going for it. Low crime and a strong labor market make it an attractive place to put down roots. And a location on the banks of Lake Michigan provides an excellent view and numerous free-time options.

All this comes at a pretty penny, right? Not quite. In fact, Two Rivers stands as the number 4 most affordable location in all of Wisconsin.

The overall cost of living in Two Rivers comes in at about a 20% discount compared to the national average. In town, you’ll get deals on groceries and transportation. But there’s one place where you’ll really save money: your housing budget.

The median home value in the area sits at $93,400. In itself, that’s the sixth lowest figure in the state. But put that in context with local wage levels and the news gets even better. Two Rivers boasts the number 4.0 best home price-to-income ratio in Wisconsin.

Not looking to buy? Well, the median rent in town comes in at a reasonable $679 per month.

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 11,079
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 73.6x (44th cheapest)
More On Two Rivers: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Two Rivers, WI

Kimberly is a village in Outagamie County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 6,468 at the 2010 census. The village is east of Appleton.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,804
Rank Last Year: 43 (Up 38)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (24th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 82.9x (104th cheapest)
More On Kimberly: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Kimberly, WI

Source: Public domain

Waupun is the sixth cheapest city in Wisconsin, with the added bonus of being one of the best places to raise a family in the state. That means good schools, low crime, plenty of amenities for kids, and close proximity to major cities like Milwaukee and Green Bay. All that at a super affordable price. The median home price in Waupun is $127,300 and the median income is $55,621, putting the city in the top twenty statewide in home price to income ratio.

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 11,264
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.3x (17th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 76.2x (72nd cheapest)
More On Waupun: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Waupun, WI

Located about 45 minutes northwest of Green Bay, Shawano ranks as the seventh most affordable city in Wisconsin. Shawano has the second cheapest homes on this list and the eighth cheapest homes in the state. Residents earn a median income of $48,505 and pay a median price of $98,600 for homes. On the other hand, Shawano is the least economical place to rent on this list, notwithstanding the fact that you can get an apartment for under $600/month here. Shawano is home to Twig’s Beverage, who make some of the finest craft soda in the Midwest.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 8,928
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.0x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 73.5x (99th cheapest)
More On Shawano: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Shawano, WI

Kronenwetter’s housing prices might make you think we’re crazy to include it on this list. But when you remember that Kronenwetter is also one of the richest places in Wisconsin, it all starts to make sense. In terms of both renting and buying, Kronenwetter has some of the best housing to income ratios in the state. Thanks to a median household income is $88,903, a $192,000 home or $911/month rent doesn’t phase Kronenwetter’s population in the slightest.

Kronenwetter is another Central Wisconsin village, just south of Rothschild.

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 7,891
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (11th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 97.6x (52nd cheapest)
More On Kronenwetter: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Kronenwetter, WI

Source: Public domain

Kaukauna is a city in Outagamie and Calumet counties, Wisconsin, United States. It is situated on the Fox River, approximately 100 miles north of Milwaukee. The population was 15,462 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Appleton, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 16,165
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (15th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 78.2x (15th cheapest)
More On Kaukauna: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Kaukauna, WI

Located 45 minutes southwest of Madison, Milton ranks as the tenth least expensive city in Wisconsin. And you don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy a wine slushie from Northleaf Winery, a Miltonite favorite. But the real reason Milton stands out in terms of affordability is its awesome home price to income ratio. With homes costing around $156,600 on a median income of $70,045, paying off the mortgage in Milton takes no time at all.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,594
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (14th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 80.1x (34th cheapest)
More On Milton: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Milton, WI

Cheapest Places To Live In Wisconsin FAQs

What county in Wisconsin has the lowest cost of living?

The county in Wisconsin with the lowest cost of living is Dane County. The average living wage in Dane County is $103,834 according to MIT data. Dane County has the lowest cost of living because it has relatively less expensive childcare and housing costs compared to Wisconsin as a whole. Childcare costs $25,655 a year in Dane County for two children compared to the Wisconsin average of $19,401. Housing costs, defined as a blend of the average rent and average mortgage payment, are $14,532 per year in Dane County compared to $10,946 on average in Wisconsin.

What is the cost of living in Wisconsin?

The cost of living in Wisconsin is 3.2% higher than the US average. According to MIT, the required living wage for a family of four with two working parents in Wisconsin is $92,622 vs the national average for a family of four with two working parents of $89,744. The median income of a Wisconsin household is $63,293.

What is the cheapest housing market in Wisconsin?

The cheapest housing market in Wisconsin is Antigo. The average home value in Antigo is $69,400, the lowest in the state. The average home value in Wisconsin is $189,200, almost 2.7 times higher than Antigo.

Methodology: How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Badger State For 2022

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Wisconsin
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2016-2020 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Wisconsin to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 142 places in Wisconsin that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Wisconsin according to the data is Rothschild. You can download the data here.

Summary: There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Wisconsin Cheapskate

If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Wisconsin, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Wisconsin for 2022.

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Wisconsin according to the data:

  1. Middleton
  2. Madison
  3. Fox Point

For more Wisconsin reading, check out:

The Most Affordable Places To Live In Wisconsin

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Rothschild 15.83 5,286 1.9x 92.6x
2 Merrill 23.33 9,081 1.8x 74.8x
3 Manitowoc 24.0 32,558 2.2x 76.7x
4 Two Rivers 27.33 11,079 1.9x 73.6x
5 Kimberly 29.33 6,804 2.4x 82.9x
6 Waupun 30.0 11,264 2.3x 76.2x
7 Shawano 30.33 8,928 2.0x 73.5x
8 Kronenwetter 31.67 7,891 2.2x 97.6x
9 Kaukauna 32.0 16,165 2.2x 78.2x
10 Milton 32.67 5,594 2.2x 80.1x
11 Neenah 33.0 26,083 2.4x 78.4x
12 Plymouth 33.67 8,654 2.5x 83.1x
13 Marinette 33.67 10,566 1.8x 68.4x
14 Sheboygan 36.0 48,153 2.3x 73.6x
15 Weston 36.0 15,139 2.4x 82.1x
16 Antigo 36.33 7,779 1.6x 65.7x
17 Reedsburg 37.33 9,508 2.5x 79.0x
18 Ripon 37.67 7,802 2.3x 72.3x
19 Allouez 37.67 13,853 2.4x 81.6x
20 Edgerton 39.33 5,594 2.5x 81.7x
21 Menasha 40.67 18,280 2.5x 74.5x
22 Fond Du Lac 42.0 42,944 2.4x 71.7x
23 Sturtevant 42.67 6,606 2.4x 78.7x
24 De Pere 43.33 25,009 2.6x 83.8x
25 Berlin 44.0 5,410 2.0x 63.8x
26 Marshfield 44.0 18,214 2.7x 76.4x
27 Columbus 44.67 5,076 2.6x 82.5x
28 Appleton 46.67 73,891 2.6x 77.2x
29 Little Chute 47.0 11,704 2.5x 75.5x
30 Prairie Du Chien 47.33 5,605 2.5x 67.6x
31 North Fond Du Lac 48.0 5,076 2.0x 61.1x
32 Cudahy 48.0 18,211 2.5x 74.7x
33 Wisconsin Rapids 48.0 17,691 2.0x 58.1x
34 Evansville 49.33 5,374 2.7x 91.3x
35 Beloit 50.0 36,804 2.1x 57.0x
36 Rhinelander 51.67 7,617 2.2x 52.1x
37 Jackson 52.33 7,149 2.6x 83.0x
38 Sheboygan Falls 53.33 7,898 2.6x 72.0x
39 Caledonia 54.67 25,182 2.7x 87.5x
40 Monroe 55.67 10,573 2.6x 70.4x
41 Beaver Dam 56.67 16,322 2.5x 66.1x
42 Fort Atkinson 57.0 12,455 2.5x 72.4x
43 Brown Deer 57.0 11,987 2.5x 72.3x
44 Mount Pleasant 57.67 27,008 2.9x 85.1x
45 Waupaca 58.33 5,916 2.8x 69.2x
46 Delavan 58.67 8,296 2.5x 65.7x
47 Wausau 59.0 38,685 2.6x 61.8x
48 Jefferson 59.33 8,011 2.6x 74.2x
49 Tomah 59.33 9,342 2.5x 60.1x
50 Sparta 60.0 9,751 2.5x 63.3x
51 Superior 60.0 26,260 2.6x 63.2x
52 New London 60.0 7,121 2.6x 67.4x
53 Oshkosh 61.0 66,753 2.6x 65.2x
54 Altoona 61.33 7,769 2.9x 79.9x
55 Sturgeon Bay 61.67 8,927 2.7x 71.9x
56 Pleasant Prairie 62.33 20,969 2.6x 79.0x
57 Green Bay 62.33 104,508 2.7x 68.0x
58 Suamico 64.0 12,890 2.7x 83.7x
59 Oconomowoc 64.33 16,931 2.8x 95.2x
60 Deforest 65.0 10,473 2.9x 84.3x
61 Ashland 65.33 7,841 2.7x 60.8x
62 Ashwaubenon 66.33 17,130 2.9x 75.8x
63 Waterford 67.0 5,520 2.7x 75.4x
64 West Bend 67.0 31,587 2.8x 75.1x
65 Racine 67.0 76,893 2.6x 51.6x
66 Union Grove 67.33 5,031 2.7x 73.9x
67 Hobart 69.33 9,499 3.0x 106.3x
68 Portage 69.83 10,412 2.7x 64.0x
69 Eau Claire 70.33 68,720 2.8x 71.6x
70 Lake Mills 70.67 5,936 2.8x 75.4x
71 Chippewa Falls 70.67 14,197 2.8x 65.8x
72 Janesville 72.33 64,415 2.7x 64.0x
73 Mukwonago 72.67 8,142 3.1x 90.4x
74 New Richmond 72.67 9,212 2.9x 76.0x
75 West Salem 73.0 5,010 2.9x 74.0x
76 West Allis 74.33 59,861 2.8x 63.0x
77 Greendale 75.0 14,160 3.0x 80.1x
78 Cottage Grove 75.0 7,086 2.9x 83.8x
79 Burlington 75.67 10,911 3.2x 81.4x
80 Sussex 75.67 10,884 3.1x 92.9x
81 Port Washington 76.0 11,881 3.0x 77.0x
82 Baraboo 76.33 12,133 2.9x 66.2x
83 Elkhorn 76.33 10,034 3.0x 73.3x
84 Richfield 76.67 11,782 3.0x 101.5x
85 Germa 77.33 20,142 3.1x 84.0x
86 Whitefish Bay 78.0 13,890 3.0x 107.9x
87 Plover 78.0 12,981 3.0x 72.5x
88 Waunakee 79.33 13,903 3.1x 112.5x
89 Holmen 80.33 10,023 3.0x 74.1x
90 Milwaukee 82.33 592,649 3.0x 49.8x
91 Onalaska 83.0 18,814 3.1x 75.4x
92 South Milwaukee 83.67 20,857 2.9x 65.1x
93 Glendale 83.67 12,890 2.9x 71.0x
94 Grafton 83.67 11,718 3.2x 79.6x
95 Lake Hallie 84.0 6,710 2.8x 65.5x
96 Oregon 84.67 10,513 3.3x 88.0x
97 Wauwatosa 84.67 48,143 3.0x 75.2x
98 Kenosha 85.0 99,767 2.9x 60.8x
99 Twin Lakes 85.33 6,134 3.2x 76.9x
100 Menomonee Falls 85.67 37,611 3.1x 76.7x

How Is The Area In ?

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Wisconsin.

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.